Brothers Nick and Nate Diaz were in Toronto, Canada, this past weekend, holding three seminars in three days along with hosting the UFC 82: "Pride of a Champion" viewing party down at the Diesel Playhouse.
To say it was a busy weekend for Nick and Nate is an understatement; however, they were gracious and generous with their time for fans and for the media alike.
Staredown Fight Wear -- the company responsible for bringing the Diaz brothers up -- once again did a spectacular job all weekend long. It is through promotions like this that allow young up-and-coming fighters to have some intense one-on-one training with two of Cesar Gracie's top students.
With the explosion of MMA across Canada we are only going to see more seminars and promotions like this from companies like my friends over at Staredown.
As much as some fans paint the Diaz brothers as being "angry at the world" they can't deny the fact that these guys are the real deal when it comes to sport. Both have proven their abilities in the past and will continue to demonstrate their skills in the future.
During their stay up here it became clear that both of them were anything but ‘angry at the world' and they are laid back and like to have a good time. Nate found it especially amusing to make snowballs and pummel Nick with them every chance he had – apparently it's tough to come up with a snowball in California.
There have been numerous fighters up here for meet and greets and seminars in the past and this was the first time where I've witnessed the fighters just hanging out at the bar and in the lobby drinking some Guinness and chatting with the fans.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Nick and Nate over breakfast on the Sunday morning after UFC 82.
Here's our discussion:
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): Thanks for taking the time to sit down and chat with us. We know you guys have had a hectic weekend so far so we appreciate this. What do you guys think of the weather up here in Toronto?
Nick Diaz: It's cold man, but it's nicer out here today.
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): Yeah it is a nice day. You guys are up here doing three seminars in three days and hosting the UFC 82 viewing party at the Diesel Playhouse. Who's responsible for bringing you up here this weekend?
Nick Diaz: Derek from Staredown Fight Wear. He's a good guy, absolutely, he hooked it up here.
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): Alright Nate, let's start off with you. You're coming off a big submission victory over Alvin Robinson and a lot of the talk after that fight was how slick your Brazilian jui-jitsu was. I mean you were throwing submission attempts from all different angles until you caught him. Was this the outcome you were looking for in that fight – did you see the fight finishing on the ground?
Nate Diaz: No, I just go in there and I fight. Wherever the fight goes. We're training and we're running drills with a lot of hard training in different positions, so that's just kind of how the fight went.
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): Alright, now your next opponent is Kurt Pellegrino who you're fighting April 2. He last fought and looked tough in his win on the same card as you back in January. After your fight that night you called Kurt out among a slew of other lightweights. Is this a fight that you've wanted for a long time or were you just tossing names out there?
Nate Diaz: I was just tossing names out. Anyone who came to mind at the time that was in the top of the division in the UFC.
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): Now you and "Batman" share a lot of the same strengths in that you both have a solid ground game. Is it inevitable that the fight is going to the ground or are we going to see some surprises from you?
Nate Diaz: Most likely it will probably go to the ground because we're both ground guys, but I don't know yet.
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): Nick, how proud are you of your younger brother at this point of his career?
Nick Diaz: Well, he's been doing a good job. He gets up and does his job. It's good to see him doing well.
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): Now going back a ways, when you fought Diego Sanchez you guys were talking back and forth and you relayed to Diego that you didn't feel he belonged in the UFC because he came through the The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) series. Now looking back with your brother winning TUF 5, were you nervous or hesitant for him to get involved with the show?
Nick Diaz: No, I knew he was more experienced than anyone on that show, you know you learn from it. Diego went on the show and got himself a contract, you know the easy way in, and that's what I was talking about when I was saying that with Diego. So we put Nate on the show and sure enough it turned out to be a good idea.
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): Definitely a good idea – he's done well for sure. Now you're coming off a really tough loss to KJ Noons because of a doctor's stoppage when you competed for the 160-pound EliteXC title. There was talk of an immediate ...
Nick Diaz: First off, I don't see it as a tough loss, you know? I don't feel like I lost that fight. The doctor stopped the fight, the ref didn't stop the fight, maybe if the ref had stopped it that would be one thing, but the doctor stopped it. It's ridiculous.
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): Alright, now there were rumblings of an immediate rematch, but ...
Nick Diaz: No there was a rematch. I was supposed to fight him, that's what I've been training for recently here. I got a call saying that he didn't take the rematch; he didn't want to fight me, whatever. I said right on man, scared mother fucker. But that's cool.
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): So the rumor was that a guy by the name of Muhsin Corbbrey has signed a bout agreement to fight you in April.
Nick Diaz: No, they turned that down, too. They didn't think it was a good idea for him right now. I guess he's not experienced enough to take this fight right now, so they're not going to go for it. So I don't have a set opponent, I'm supposed to fight on the March 29 card. I don't know how it's going to pan out yet. We'll see if they can find me an opponent. It's rough too you know because I figure you have to pay somebody good money to fight me otherwise you got to find someone that's somewhat of a chump, but then they got to be able to be sanctioned by the commission so they have to have some experience, but then if they have little experience I'm not an easy or a smart fight for them to take. It's going to be on short notice so it's interesting to see how it's going to work out.
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): Now with EliteXC signing a new deal with CBS, which is big news in the world of MMA, this deal is obviously going to bring a lot exposure to the organization and to the sport in itself. Is EliteXC your home for awhile or what should we expect from you in the future?
Nick Diaz: Yeah, I don't believe my contract is exclusive but I'm pretty happy about the news with the CBS deal. It sounds good and they treat me really good at EliteXC. I want to fight for the title and take the belt in my weight class. I like the organization just fine. Of course I'll fight anywhere for anybody because money talks. I just go where they tell me to go and fight when they tell me to fight.
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): I think the draw of the Diaz brothers for the fans is twofold. First off, you are both very passionate and often colorful and animated about fighting. But you are also both down to earth, regular guys – not flashy or anything. It seems like you're both just built to fight – you just love getting in there and fighting. Where does this mindset come from?
Nick Diaz: I don't know. I figure what you see is what you get you know? I'm not trying to put on a show for anybody. I got to do what I got to do. I fight so I just got to do my thing. I got too much else to worry about such as keeping all my teeth, staying healthy and being in shape and all. You run out of time for everything so it's hard for me. You know I'm lucky if I can get a haircut in before some of these fights, I just don't have time for that kind of stuff.
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): Ok quick question Nick, will we ever see a rematch with Takanori Gomi?
Nick Diaz: Umm, yeah you know why not? If that's what he wants, if that's what they want to do. Like I said money talks so I won that fight, so yeah why not, sure I'd fight anybody.
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): Nate, one more question for you as well. Without looking past a tough opponent in Pellegrino, where do you see yourself by the end of 2008 in the UFC's lightweight division?
Nate Diaz: I don't even know. I'm just taking it one step at a time so we'll see where I end up.
Sean McManus (MMAmania.com): Ok guys, thanks again for taking some time out of this crazy schedule to sit down and chat with us. We wish all the best to the both of you in the future. Cheers.
Nick and Nate Diaz: Thanks.
Sean McManus is the Director of Media Relations for MMACanada.net. For more information on the MMA scene up in Canada check out MMACanada.net.